Semi-trailers can weigh 20 or 30 times more than passenger vehicles, so when a car crash involves a semi-trailer the results can be catastrophic. However, many of these accidents are avoidable.
Because the large size of these vehicles makes them so dangerous, truck drivers have special rules they must abide by when sharing the road. Sometimes crashes are caused when truck drivers break these rules with unsafe behaviors like driving when drowsy or intoxicated, speeding, failing to properly secure a load and others. However, other times crashes are caused by other drivers who do not understand the operating limitations of such large vehicles.
How to avoid crashes caused by truckers
When you are driving near semi-trailers, be on the lookout for signs a truck driver may be behaving unsafely. Signs may include:
- The truck drifting from its lane or hitting the rumble strip
- The driver changing lanes without signaling
- The driver looking down or not at the road
- The truck traveling at an unsafe speed
If you see signs that may indicate the truck driver is behaving unsafely, try to allow as much space between you and the truck as possible. If necessary, consider pulling over to a safe place to report the behavior to the police.
Be sure your driving habits do not cause a crash
Although some crashes are caused by the unsafe actions of truckers, other crashes are caused by the unsafe actions of other drivers who may not understand the operating limitations of semi-trailers. To make sure you do not cause a devastating crash, remember that semi-trailers have large blind spots, require long stopping distances and swing wide on turns.
With these limitations in mind, some safe habits for sharing the road, include:
- Leaving plenty of space between you and the semi-trailer, regardless of what side you are on
- Not tailgating a semi-trailer
- Avoiding cutting in front of a semi-trailer
- Always passing on the driver’s side, when you must pass
- Not trying to squeeze between a turning semi-trailer and the curb
Everyone who shares the road has a responsibility to behave safely. However, sometimes you may find yourself involved in a crash despite your safe behaviors. If the unsafe actions of a trucker caused you to be severely injured in a car crash, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical bills and other expenses related to your injury.